It’s Your Community


Each week, Vanessa hosts It’s Your Community; a show that focuses on the names, faces and happenings affecting the Detroit metropolitan community. She interviews businesses, community leaders, professionals and insiders to ask the questions that are on the minds of listeners.

The show airs every Sunday morning in the Detroit market on News/Talk AM760 WJR, 96.3 FM WDVD and 93.1 NASH-FM.

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It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – December 17, 2017

Vanessa interviewed the president of the board of directors of Mary’s Meals, Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow about Mary’s Meals and his role in the organization. Named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary’s Meals is a global movement dedicated to providing meals to children across the world. Through donations, Mary’s Meals has been able to millions of school-aged children. They are now feeding more than one million children every school day. For more information head to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – October 29, 2017

In this week’s It’s Your Community, Vanessa covered a press conference about an Economic Impact Study conducted by Global Detroit. This was held at Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield. There were various speakers who discussed different aspects of the study.

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – October 22, 2017

In this week’s It’s Your Community, Vanessa interviewed Stephanie Aldridge about living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Stephanie is a home care consultant for Home Instead Senior Care. As the aging population increases, so does the number of people living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. To encourage the community to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, Home Instead developed free trainings and information at Alzheimer’s Learning Day, available at During the interview, Vanessa asked Stephanie about the steadily aging population and what Home Instead Senior Care is doing to educate the community about Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – October 15, 2017

In this week’s It’s Your Community, Vanessa interviewed Al Zdenek, President, CEO and founder of Traust Sollus Wealth Management about fears surrounding the topic of money and the future. From the fear of not having enough money to retire to the fear of choosing the right financial advisor after being burned in the past. In addition, Al and Vanessa discuss Al’s newest book, Master Your Cash Flow, and the message Al is trying to convey in it. Vanessa also asks whether the principals discussed in Al’s book apply only to the wealthy or if they can also be applied to low income or middle-income person or family, as well. Al and Vanessa also discuss how to address and deal with money fears and the stress that comes with it. For more information about Al Adenek and his book, visit

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – October 8, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Brad Coulter, president and CEO of Matrix Human Services about Matrix’s mission and the work that they do to educate children, support families and rebuild neighborhoods in Detroit. Vanessa and Brad discuss the importance of focusing in on Detroit’s neighborhoods for the city’s revitalization. In addition, Vanessa asks Brad about the various events and projects that Matrix takes part in, addressing both ArtWorks and the upcoming Harvest Festival. Brad tells Vanessa about both events and what eventgoers can expect at each and even how to get involved with the Harvest Festival. For more information about Matrix, their events and the work that they do, visit

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – October 1, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Michael Lutz MD, president of the Men’s Health Foundation. Vanessa and Michael discuss this year’s Men’s Health Event at Ford Field on October 14. The Men’s Health Event allows for men ages 18 and older to assess their current health status free of charge. Services rendered at the event are valued to be worth more than $1,800. Health screenings at the event include everything from blood screenings for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), testosterone, glucose and cholesterol levels to vision, dental, skin cancer, depression and hearing screenings. Vanessa also discussed with Michael what the screenings could mean for the men and what they can do about their results.

More information about  the event can be found at

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – September 24, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Sam Horn, intrigue expert and TEDx speaker, about earning someone’s attention. Sam helps in everything from creating one-of-a-kind brands to presentations and pitches that “scale their influence for good”. Sam’s roster of clients includes NASA, National Geographic, Intel, Boeing and many other prominent names in the industry. Her work has been featured in publications such as Forbes, New York Times and Business Week. Sam discusses how one, in a world of “INFObesity”, can earn the attention of audiences and keep their attention. Sam is also asked about whether or not stories should be used in business communications and how these stories can be used in an effective manner. Additionally, Sam discusses why and how she took her business on the road for Year by the Water, touching on the lessons she learned from her time on the road. For a sample of Sam Horn’s work, take a look at her article in Fast Company on how to “rock a TED talk” .

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – September 17, 2017

In this week’s It’s Your Community, Vanessa interviewed author and leadership and team consultant Maureen Monte about her new book, Destination Unstoppable. Much the like the work she does, Maureen’s book is about helping both teams and individuals reach their full potential. Maureen’s book ties in with her program, which is also referred to as Destination Unstoppable. Both the program and book highlight the necessity of teams and companies leveraging every ounce of talent in their favor. Maureen discusses how the world runs on teams and how they tend to never reach their full potential. Maureen is asked about how her book came about and in what ways it ties into her program Destination Unstoppable. For more information about Maureen Monte and her new book, visit .

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – September 10, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Dr. Lynem, who is a physician consultant at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, about a couple of topics including college health care insurance and managing stress in college. Students are flooding campuses around the country and as the pace picks up, it can be a frustrating time. Balancing health and wellness with school can be a difficult task, especially if in a new environment. Dr. Lynem first discusses why it is imperative that college students understand their health coverage and utilize it appropriately. Dr. Lynem is also asked about if and when a student should choose to go to the ER and what parts of health coverage should students attempt to familiarize themselves with. Additionally, Dr. Lynem discusses stress in college students, an inevitable facet of college life. Dr. Lynem offers tips and tricks to managing high levels of stress and new responsibilities. Listen for more on college health care and tips to managing stress.

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – September 03, 2017

Vanessa interviewed author Gabrielle Balkan about her new children’s book, 50 Cities of the U.S., which is set to feature Detroit. 50 Cities of the U.S. includes a plethora of fun facts about Detroit, from the inspiration and invention of the U.S.’s first four-way traffic signal by Detroit police officer William Potts to the Heidelberg Project, which is described as a “block of art projects made from junk, like portraits painted on car hoods.” Gabrielle discusses how her book is a great way to explore 50 different American cities through fact-filled maps, providing a list of activities to do in the Detroit area, which Gabrielle appropriately dubs as “A Day in Detroit”. Additionally, Gabrielle discusses how 50 Cities of the U.S. came about and what her readers can expect to see throughout the book. Gabrielle is also asked about the other cities that she covered in her book and whether 50 Cities of the U.S. can be used in other capacities, such as school curriculums. For more information about 50 Cities of the U.S. and Gabrielle Balkan, visit .

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – June 11th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Mary Romaya, Executive Director of the Chaldean Cultural Center, and Francis Boji and Chair of the Chaldean Cultural Center (CCC) about the opening of the new center which is located in West Bloomfield, MI.  The Chaldean Cultural Center celebrates and explores the extraordinary history, arts, traditions, and contributions of the Chaldean people from ancient times to the present, serving as a repository for our collected history and stories.  They talked about the five galleries of the Museum, the companies that helped build the museum, including the architects, media producer, and fabricator, and also the distinctive features of each of the galleries.  The Center paints a portrait of a people, exploring the history that shaped us, the faith that sustains us, and the lives we lead today. At its heart is an exhibition that takes visitors from the court of Nebuchadnezzar to an immigrant grocery store in Detroit and beyond. Multimedia presentations, sophisticated hands-on activities, artifacts both ancient and modern, and evocative environments will tell a distinctive, engaging, and powerful story.  They also talked about the unique architectural features of the CCC Museum, the main audiences that the museum hopes to attract, the days and times the Museum is open, and how to schedule a special tour groups.  For more information, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – June 4th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed various guests from the Detroit Skating Club about the 18th Annual Detroit Skating Club Ice Show: Skating In Color.  The event is June 8th through June 11th at the Detroit Skating Club (DSC) located in Bloomfield Hills.  The first guest interviewed was Jerod Swallow, managing director of the DSC about the Skate Detroit, which is the club’s big completion of the year.  Jerod is a five-time U.S. national champion, two-time Skate America champion, and competed twice in the Winter Olympics.  The thirty-sixth annual Skate Detroit competition will be held at the Detroit Skating Club beginning on Tuesday, July 18 for the lower level skaters and ending Saturday, July 22, 2017.  Skate Detroit is sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating and Skate Canada, and will feature skaters who could be Olympic contenders.  The next guest interviewed was Rachel Lee who is the Learn to Skate Director, Ice Show Director and National Coach for Detroit Skating Club.  Rachel talked about the 2017 Ice Show called Skating In Color and the Learn to Skate Program.  She was also asked if it is every too old to start to learn about skating, and why skate when very few people end up going to the Olympics. For more information about the Detroit Skating Club and the Skating In Color show, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – May 28th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Shannon Carney Oleksyk, the Healthy Living Advisor and Manager of the Building Healthy Communities Program at Blue Cross Blue Shield.  They talked about the Building Healthy Communities program, and why is it important for kids to learn about healthy choices and being active.

The Building Healthy Communities is a school-based program that has reached over 230,000 students in more than 500 schools since its inception in 2009 by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.  They also discussed what this partnership means to Blue Cross and how many schools participate in Building Healthy Communities.  Shannon Carney Oleksyk has more than 16 years’ experience working with children and as a registered dietitian, and is committed to helping schools implement healthy environments for students and staff.  They also talked about what schools receive if they’re chosen to participate in the program and also how a school can get involved in the Building Healthy Communities program.  For more information on the Building Healthy Communities Program, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – May 21st, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Steven Hernandez, Foundation Development Coordinator at Community Choice Foundation about the Community Choice Credit Union’s Foundation Scholarships.  They talked about how the scholarship program get started, why it’s needed and how it’s funded.  Each year, Michigan’s Community Choice Credit Union (CCCU) offers high school seniors the chance to win one of twenty $5,000 scholarships. Since 2009, the program has awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships to 160 Michigan students. The key is that the high school seniors need to have a passion for giving back and a desire to stay in Michigan for college and beyond.  They also discussed how the program benefits the community, the region, the state, and also how and why the recipients are chosen.  Steven explained what previous winners have gone on to accomplish, what’s next for the program, and also how community members can get involved.  One example of the program in action is when Community Choice scholars and team members volunteered on April 29 at The Senior Alliance Social Service Campus in Wayne, MI. They removed shrubbery and bushes from around the windmill and prepared soil and planted flowers.  For more information on CCCU’s Community Choice Foundation, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – May 14th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Shane Henderson, President of Flags for Fortitude, a division of Metal Art of Wisconsin, about a Metal Art of Wisconsin’s Flags for Fortitude program.  The program aims to celebrate the unsung heroes among us by awarding them one of their fantastic American Flag art pieces.  They talked about how Shane got started in metal art, how he makes the metal flags, and the difference between those flags and the flags he makes from wood.  Metal Art of Wisconsin’s work has hung on the walls of numerous Studios, Banks, Museums, Churches, Hospitals, Cemeteries and Memorials all around the world.  The company is donating their patriotic flags to Veterans, current and past Military and Service Members, Law Enforcement, Firefighters, EMT’s, Doctors, Nurses, families of the fallen or injured and any other hero who has displayed fortitude when protecting or helping others.  They also discussed the impact social media has played in their business, why they decided to do this special program and how someone can nominate a “hero.”  For anyone who is interested in learning more about the project, or would like to nominate someone, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – May 7th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Karen Dumas, President of Images & Ideas, Inc., about a general look at the state of affairs, both locally and nationally.  They talked about the race for the next Mayor of Detroit and who might be the candidates to lead the city into the future.  They also discussed the new Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) superintendent.  The DPSCD just announced that Nikolai Vitti as the district’s first permanent superintendent, who was chosen over Derrick R. Coleman the superintendent of the River Rouge School District.  They also talked about national topics including concerns of security and immigration and what President Trump has done since he’s taken office.  Karen Dumas is a communications professional, media contributor, and public speaker who is committed to excellence, entrepreneurship and equality.  He formerly served Chief of Communications & External Affairs for Mayor Dave Bing and the City of Detroit, and has earned a reputation as a communications specialist known for performance and perfection.  They also talked about other hot topics including the airline crisis, the situation that Bill O’Reilly got himself into, and the up-coming Mackinac Policy Conference.  For more information on Karen and her company, log on to or visit

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – April 30th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Sister Beth Ann Finster, SSJ, Assistant Director of University Ministry, about the University of Detroit Mercy.  They talked about the role of Ministry with the student athletes, the Annual Celebrate Spirit Mass, as well as the history of the school.  The University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan’s largest and most comprehensive Catholic university, sponsored by the Religious Sisters of Mercy and the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).  Detroit Mercy offers more than 100 academic degrees and programs through seven schools and colleges, and current enrollment is approximately 5,000 students.  They discussed the mission statement of the University, Jesuit and Mercy religious sponsors, which include Catherine McAuley and St. Ignatius Loyola, as well as Service and Immersion trips and service in the city.  Born and raised in Buffalo, Sr. Beth has been a Sister of Saint Joseph for 51 years.  She came to the University 32 years ago, after having taught junior high and high school, and has lived in the Residence Hall for those 32 years, the last 25 with the First Year (Freshman) students.  Finally, they talked about leadership development at the school and why it’s important for the students to learn those skills.  For more information on the University of Detroit Mercy and specifically the school’s ministry, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – April 23rd, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Jocelyn Giangrande, coach, mentor, and speaker and founder of SASHE, LLC which stands for Sisters Achieving Success Harmony and Empowerment.  They talked about how Jocelyn has more than 15 years of experience mentoring and coaching others and what made her first get into this field.  She explained what she has learned over the years, how she helps young professionals realize their potential and achieve their goals, and what someone can learn from her workshops and motivational speaking engagements.  Realizing that many professionals find themselves stuck in careers without a road map to move forward, Jocelyn founded SASHE, LLC.  The company is focused on building confidence and advancing careers of professional, working women.  They also discussed her experience covering higher education, hospitality and health care and what are some of the biggest challenges in these industries, her annual events, such as her Confident Woman Power Lunch, and her book called, “What’s In Your Sandwich?” a career strategy book.   Jocelyn also provides professional coaching, where she works 1-on-1 with women to plan career strategies, communication skills and building confidence, and also has Coffee Break Show videos, which are quick career tips in the time it takes to drink your morning coffee.  For more information about Jocelyn, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – April 16th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Fr. Patrick Gonyeau, Associate Pastor of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Central Region Evangelization Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Detroit, about Easter and the Lenten season.  They talked about why Lent is such an important time of preparation for Easter, and what we should remember most, or always keep “top of mind”, during the Lenten season.  Fr. Patrick Gonyeau is a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit who serves as the Central Region Evangelization Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Detroit.  Prior to entering the seminary, Fr. Patrick pursued a folk music career in Nashville, Tennessee.  Raised Catholic, he became an agnostic in his 20’s and then experienced a profound conversion in his mid 20’s that led him to enter the seminary and become a Catholic priest.  They also discussed Easter and how we can make sure we don’t lose sight of the real meaning of Easter, and how we can best continue the spirit of Easter throughout our lives, so not to have it be just an annual one-day celebration.  Fr. Patrick also touched on the celebration of Easter, because while we know what it’s like to celebrate birthdays and holidays like Thanksgiving and the 4th of July, we don’t always understand what’s different about celebrating Easter.  For more information about the Archdiocese of Detroit, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – April 9th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Kelly Dillaha, Conference Planning Committee Member, about the Surviving the Social Jungle Conference.  Surviving the Social Jungle (501c3) is a conference that takes a fresh approach to managing unfriendly peer behavior and preventing bullying, with specialized tracks for kids, adults and professional educators.  At the conference, kids learn practical skills and strategies for dealing with mean behavior before it turns into a bullying situation, and the “do’s and don’ts” of being a friendly classmate and standing up for themselves.  They talked about the conference, in detail, including the format and the Kids Empowered Curriculum that is showcased at the event.  Kids Empowered stresses some vital elements to a kids development that includes knowing who you are and what you value, making choices that honor the person you want to be, recognizing when your body is showing signs of stress, and learning ways to calm yourself.  They also discussed understanding the difference between unfriendly behavior versus bullying, how to teach kids to learn and practice key phrases, body language, and voice, ahead of time, that tell others you are confident, and also knowing when it is appropriate to go to adults for help.  For more information on the conference, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – April 2nd, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Robin Bennett, Chairperson of the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) board, about the work the organization does in the community.  The purpose of Michigan Independent Living Council (SILC) is to promote a philosophy of independent living, defined as the right of all people to make informed choices, to have personal control over their own lives, and to participate to the fullest extent possible in the everyday activities of work, school, home, family, and community.  They talked about what is Independent Living and the announcement of public forums across the state that focus on public input and the common disability agenda.  Robin also provided ways for listeners to keep track of their events and forums.  They discussed what consumer control means, what is person centered planning and how it relates to Independent Living, as well as the barriers people with disabilities face in Michigan, in trying to live the life they desire to live.  Finally, they talked about how do regional transportation issues affect persons with disabilities and what Robin’s plan is for providing much needed transportation to those in need.  For more information on the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – March 26th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Jennifer Callan, Director of Early Childhood Development for the United Way and Anisa Sahoubah, Youth and Education Director for ACCESS about the United Way’s recent selection of subgrantess to share in Federal dollars to invigorate early Childhood Education.  They talked about the history of the United Way and Jennifer’s role with the organization, as well as the partnership with ACCESS and how it came to be.  Jennifer explained what United Way hopes to achieve by partnering with ACCESS and other agencies in support of its child development work.  United Way is celebrating its centennial anniversary, so Jennifer talked about how the organization will celebrate the milestone and ultimately what the public should know about the organization.  Anisa discussed her role and the work that ACCESS does in the community.  They also talked about how, specifically, families in and around the Dearborn community will benefit from the grant, and well as some of the success stories that have come of this work with United Way.  ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services) has been serving the community for more than 40 years and was founded by a group of dedicated volunteers in 1971.  For more information about the United Way or ACCESS, visit or

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – March 19th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Dr. Frank Smith Medical Director of Intensive Cardiac Rehab at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, about how heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women and how Michigan’s death rate from the disease is even higher than the country average, ranking ninth out of the fifty states.  They talked about the ICR program at St. Joseph Mercy in Ann Arbor, and why comprehensive cardiac rehab is an option for patients who are at high risk for a cardiovascular event.  Dr. Smith discussed the benefits of Pritikin ICR, how to properly monitor blood pressure, and what a heart healthy diet consists of.  Pritikin ICR is a comprehensive lifestyle education program that teaches important skills like regular exercise, healthy eating and cooking, and stress management, to patients.  The program improves cardiovascular health by focusing on three pillars: safe and effective exercise, an eating plan based on healthy, minimally processed, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and sensible amounts of lean meat, and finally a healthy mind-set that fosters healthy behaviors.

Dr. Frank Smith is currently serving as the lead physician overseeing the Intensive Cardiac Rehab program at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor that launched in August 2016.  Since it began, more than 60 patients have graduated from the ICR program with increasing enrollment every day.  For more information, visit:

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – March 19th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Dr. Frank Smith Medical Director of Intensive Cardiac Rehab at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, about how heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women and how Michigan’s death rate from the disease is even higher than the country average, ranking ninth out of the fifty states.  They talked about the ICR program at St. Joseph Mercy in Ann Arbor, and why comprehensive cardiac rehab is an option for patients who are at high risk for a cardiovascular event.  Dr. Smith discussed the benefits of Pritikin ICR, how to properly monitor blood pressure, and what a heart healthy diet consists of.  Pritikin ICR is a comprehensive lifestyle education program that teaches important skills like regular exercise, healthy eating and cooking, and stress management, to patients.  The program improves cardiovascular health by focusing on three pillars: safe and effective exercise, an eating plan based on healthy, minimally processed, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and sensible amounts of lean meat, and finally a healthy mind-set that fosters healthy behaviors.

Dr. Frank Smith is currently serving as the lead physician overseeing the Intensive Cardiac Rehab program at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor that launched in August 2016.  Since it began, more than 60 patients have graduated from the ICR program with increasing enrollment every day.  For more information, visit:

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – March 12th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Grace Derocha, Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Health Coach, about March being National Nutrition Month.  They talked about the benefits of eating at home, cooking home cuisine, pre/probiotics, as well as children’s nutrition.  Specifically, they discussed the benefits of eating at home in terms of age, budget, health and time, and what are the best ways to plan meals.  They then talked about how gut health affects the body and what are probiotics and prebiotics, what are natural food sources of probiotics and prebiotics, and also, whether or not someone should take a probiotic supplement.  Grace Derocha works at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and is a featured blogger at A Healthier Michigan.  She graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics and a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, and then went on to earn her Master of Business Administration from Wayne State University.  They also discussed why proper nutrition is important for children, how to best instill good eating habits in children and what you should do with a picky eater.  For more information, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – March 5th, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Laura Goddeeris, AICP, about the MSU and AFPD research results on the Food Industry in the State of Michigan.  Laura is a specialist at Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems who helped create the AFPD study.  They talked about the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University and how the university first got in touch with AFPD.  Laura explained the focus of the study and for those not familiar with the term, she explained what a “contribution analysis” and the way it is different from an “economic impact analysis”.  They discussed how this industry data can help both state agencies and local municipalities better understand the food retail industry.  AFPD is the Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers who represent thousands of retailers throughout the Mid-west, with a large number of them in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois.  Laura also talked about what goes into putting a study like this together and whether or not this was the first study of this kind for the MSU Center and how it impacted their approach.  Finally, Laura discusses how long it took to complete the report, and what were some of the challenges they  faced along the way.  For more information on AFPD and the study, visit or for more information MSU’s Center for Regional Food Systems, visit

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – February 26, 2017

Vanessa interviewed author John Quinlan about his new book, “Tau Bada, The Quest and Memori of a Vulnerable Man”.  Tau Bada means “big white man,” which is what Quinlan is when he visited the tribes of Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province, north of Australia.  John described how his life changed when, after his company failed, he decided to travel across the country.  After meeting the love of his life, they decided to travel through the South Pacific determined to create a sustainable livelihood business.  They talked about how Quinlan used his expertise as a businessman to pull together over 2400 people from numerous different tribes to form a business focused on coffee collection, processing, logistics and export.  John E. Quinlan is the founder and CEO of Growth Strategies Global LLC, an organization development consulting firm that specializes in family-founded and closely held businesses.  They discussed the challenges of starting a new company is a foreign land and the cultural differences he faced.  John also explained greed and vengeance are apparently equivalent across the globe, whether in a boardroom in Detroit, Michigan or a tribal hut in the PNG mountains.  For more information, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – February 19, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Roxanne Brinkerhoff, Chief Operating Officer of the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan (GSSEM)and Amanda Thomas, Director of Product Program & Retail Operations for GSSEM.  Roxanne discussed the history of the Girl Scouts and its founding objectives, what are Girl Scouts age levels and how Girl Scouts stay relevant to meet the wants and needs of both the parents as well as the girls.  Roxanne Brinkerhoff is a resident of New Boston and came to Girl Scouts in 2016 from the Guidance Center downriver, where she oversaw operations there for more than 15 years.  Next, Vanessa talked to Amanda about the Girl Scouts cookie drive and how long the Girl Scouts will be selling cookies,  They discussed where the cookies are being sold, how people can find a booth or a Girl Scout near them and how the Girl Scouts have been selling the cookies for 100 years.  Amanda is a resident of Wyandotte and has worked at GSSEM since 2014.  Prior to coming to GSSEM, she worked for Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit.  They also talked about this year’s new cookie and what is America’s favorite cookie.  For more information on the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – February 12, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Author Ken Coleman about Black History Month and the new books he has written.  They discussed “Forever Young: The Coleman Reader” which is one of Ken’s new book that looks at the life of former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young.  Ken believes that since decades have passed since the former mayor was in office, that not a lot of younger people understand the history of the city’s longest-serving and first black mayor.  They talked about how Ken wrote the book and about the impact that the former mayor left on the city.  They also talked about his other new book, “Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies.”  This book looks back at the Detroit riots and how it forever changed the city.  There is also a question as to whether the riots were actually a riot or rather of a rebellion.  This year make the 50th anniversary of the riots and Ken talked about how what happened is still felt today.  Ken Coleman is a Detroit-based author and historian, and the former senior editor at the Michigan Chronicle as well as the press secretary for U.S. Reps. Gary Peters and Brenda Lawrence of Michigan.  Ken also discussed a children’s book he is writing with his 8-year-old son.  For more information on Ken and his books, or to learn more about the City of Detroit, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – February 5, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Teresa Tomeo, author and speaker, about her new book “Beyond Me, My Selfie, and I:  Finding Real Happiness in A Self-Absorbed World.”  The book focuses on how she feels society is losing its touch with humanity.  She provides practical ways in which we can turn away from a self-absorbed way of life and connect with others in a more personal way, including a more intimate connection with God.  They talked about how the book came about, what inspired her to write it, and the audience that she wrote it for.  Teresa explained why she thinks the world is so self-absorbed and provided examples, including the Presidential election where some people could not handle the results.  Teresa Tomeo is a syndicated Catholic talk show host, author of numerous books, and an international speaker. She has more than 30 years of experience in TV, radio and newspaper, 20 of which were as a secular reporter/anchor in the Detroit market.   Teresa has been featured on many programs to discuss the issues of faith, media awareness, and Catholic Church teaching, especially as it relates to the culture.  They also talked about how we can have “selfie control” and how it’s proven to be better to put others first, before ourselves.  For more information on Teresa and the book, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – January 29, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Melanie Duquesnel, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Eastern Michigan & the Upper Peninsula about the history of the BBB and how it’s celebrating its Centennial.  They talked about whether or not the BBB is a government agency and what BBB accreditation means.  The BBB is a private, non-profit organization that works closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, providing them with valuable information on potential scams and frauds.  Melanie explained why businesses become accredited by the BBB and how it shows prospects and customers that they are committed to treating them in a fair and ethical manner.  The BBB is in the Top 350 for most visited websites in the US with 100 million unique visitors each year giving Accredited Businesses additional visibility.  They also discussed what the ratings mean, if someone has to pay to see them and if a business can simply pay for a better rating.  Finally they talked about what the BBB does for consumers, which includes unbiased reviews, an accredited business directory, dispute resolutions, educational services, customer reviews and scam tracking information.  For more information on the Better Business Bureau, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – January 22, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Susan Hiltz, Public Affairs Director for AAA Michigan.  They talked about what is fueling the recent increase people are seeing in gas prices at the pump.  They also discussed the new speed limit law that just was passed in the state.  The new law will increase the speed limit from 70 mph to 75 mph.  Susan also explained the challenges of driving on the roads in the winter season, the difficulties for teen driving, as well as for senior driving.  As the public affairs director for AAA in Michigan, Susan is responsible for implementing AAA’s PR, traffic safety, contributions and community outreach initiatives throughout the state.  As a life-long resident of southeast Michigan, Susan has over 30 years of public affairs experience in this community.  Prior to joining AAA, she served as the regional managing director of the Ad Council where she worked with media and leadership coalitions in Michigan and seven other states to effectively advocate for traffic safety and other important public service campaigns.  They also discussed the benefits of having a AAA membership that offers added security and discounts for members.  Finally, Susan explained the new AAA app, how it works and how it creates a new platform to reach members in a mobile world.  For more information on the organization, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – January 15, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Tim Richey, Chief Executive Officer of Detroit PAL, about the history of the organization and how it first started.  They talked about what’s going on with kids in Detroit today and the statistics of kids in poverty, single-parent homes, and the lack of resources.  Detroit PAL has more than 1,700 community volunteers that are trained and certified.  They discussed the importance of these volunteers and where most of the volunteers come from.  Detroit PAL was started in 1969 by Police Officer Judith Bayer.  Tim explained Team Up program, which pairs police officers with youth, and why it’s important.  Detroit PAL is in every neighborhood of Detroit, so Tim discussed PAL’s community partnerships and outreach into the neighborhoods, which includes 105 schools and dozens of parks and recreation centers.  They also talked about the Kids at the Corner campaign.  Detroit PAL is raising funds to build a headquarters and stadium at the site of historic Tiger Stadium.  The stadium will be about more than just baseball.  Kids will be able to play soccer, football, cheer, and more at the new stadium.  It will have a leadership and banquet center for training volunteers, as well as a Hall of Heroes.  Tim talked about how this campaign will help Detroit PAL towards their goal of serving 20,000 kids by 2020.  For more information about Detroit PAL, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – January 8, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Shannon Dulin, Manager of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Comcast, about how Comcast and the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are collaborating to close the digital divide for up to 2 million HUD-assisted households.  Shannon explained what is the digital divide and how it affects those who are without access to internet.  She then explained what is Internet Essentials and how it’s the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program.  From August 2011 through December 2015, Internet Essentials has connected more than 600,000 low-income families, benefiting more than 2.4 million Americans, to the Internet at home.  They talked about the elements of the program and who is eligible.  The program provides low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month.  Qualified families include those with at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), including parochial, private, charter, cyberschool and homeschooled students.  They also discussed the feedback Comcast has received from the recipients of the program and how that feedback has helped work out some of the initial kinks in the program.  Shannon also explained the impact the program has, as a result of the power of the internet’s reach in providing real-time news, education information and job searches.  She also explained why it was important for Comcast to team with HUD to help communities in new and innovative ways.  For more information on the program, log on or

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – January 1, 2017

Vanessa interviewed Frank Brady, great-nephew of founder James J. Brady, about Detroit Goodfellows.  Founded in 1914, Goodfellows is one of Detroit’s oldest non-profit organizations.  They talked about the history of the organization, how and why it was founded.  Frank explained the No Kid Without A Christmas mission, which includes 34,000 gift boxes distributed to needy kids in Detroit, Highland Park, Harper Woods, River Rouge and Hamtramck and 10,000 dolls that are dressed by volunteers.  Other programs of the Detroit Goodfellows includes dental assistance, shoes, summer camps, and scholarships.  They discussed how recipients are chosen and how to apply to receive aid.  Recipient families must apply for the program and applications are provided to previous year recipients as well as to public, charter and parochial schools in their service cities.  The 2016 fundraising goal is $1.1 million and contributions for this year are being accepted through January, 31st.  Funds are raised annually through Tribute Breakfast and Sales Day.  Funds are also raised through an old-fashioned letter writing campaign where our members send solicitation requests to their families, friends, colleagues inviting them to support the Goodfellows.  They also talked about how Frank has been a general member since 1975 and has served at a past President two times, in 1983 and 2013.  For more information on Goodfellows and how you can get involved, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – December 25th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Chris George, co-owner of Gentlemen’s Box, about his company which is a subscription service for men that provides the essentials for the modern gentleman.  The subscription includes a wide variety of items that range from grooming supplies to wardrobe accessories.  Each month four to six hand selected items are sent, which align with a monthly theme, right to your door.  They talked about the types of holidays that are perfect to give someone a subscription to Gentleman’s Box, which includes Father’s Day, Birthday’s, Christmas, Graduation Day and also a gift for groomsmen.  Chris explained that there are subscription options of 3 months, 6 months and 12 months.  They also discussed how the concept works for product manufacturers, because it creates an audience for their products and allows them to reach people they may not yet have reached. Chris talked about some of his favorite products, how he’s become more cognoscente of men’s fashion since starting the company and how he first came up with the idea.  He also discussed where they get inspiration for each box and the items to put in them.  For more information about Gentlemen’s Box, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – December 18th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Abe Hachem, owner of Midwest Recycling of Michigan, about the work the organization does in the community and around the world.  They talked about the organizations they work with, which includes the American Red Cross, KIDS, LAHC and various schools around the region.  They also talked about the world-wide distribution efforts of the company, which includes a recent donation of 60,000 coats to refugees in Greece.  They discussed the donation stations which are kept clean and organized, which separates Midwest’s boxes from other organizations.  Founded in 2007, Midwest Recycling specializes in the placement and maintenance of more than 600 bins throughout Greater Detroit and Southeast Michigan. Midwest distributes used clothing and shoes for women, children and families in need.  Abe explained how the organizations that Midwest donates to, are all screened to make sure they are reputable.  They also talked about how municipalities, who may be interested adding donation stations in their city, can work with Midwest Recycling and get a program started in their area.  Midwest’s efforts also help the environment, by eliminating waste that occurs when clothing is thrown out, instead of being passed on to someone else.  For more information on Midwest Recycling, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – December 11th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Dr. Bruce Fife, Certified Nutritionist and Naturopathic Physician, about his new book “The Shocking Truth About Palm Oil” and also about eating healthy when it comes to Holiday meals.  They talked about what is palm oil, why the ingredient is so controversial, and who is demonizing palm oil and why.  Dr. Fife is the author of 30 books including “The Palm Oil Miracle”, “Stop Alzheimer’s Now”, “Stop Vision Loss Now”, and “Dr. Fife’s Keto Cookery.”  They also discussed where are sustainable palm oils sourced from, what cooking oils should we worry about instead and why palm oil is so significant now that after the FDA ruled to ban trans-fats.  The interview also included good cooking tips that can help keep things nutritious during the holiday season and for those who count calories, what are some foods we should stay away from.  Dr. Fife about talked about whether or not it is possible to enjoy traditional holiday meals and not worry about busting your diet.  Finally, they discussed what is “Trans Fat” and which holiday foods contain trans-fat that people should watch out for, in order to help some who still don’t understand the harm of trans fat in processed foods.  For more information, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – December 4th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Rosanne Plasky, Director of Women’s Educational Services for Mercy Education Project, about the organization and the service they provide.  Mercy Education Project is a free educational program designed to improve the lives of low-income women and girls.  They achieve measurable success in improving academic outcomes for girls and women who have experienced educational challenges or failure, as well as addressing other life obstacles they face.  They talked about the history of Mercy Education Project and why it was formed and also who they help and why the work they do is so important to them.  Rosanne highlighted some of the success stories of past students and since they provide more than just education to your students, she talked about the other areas they help with including child care, transportation, etc.  They also discussed why Mercy Education Project has proven itself to be a successful program and what can be attributed to that success.  Rosanne talked about how prospective students can enroll and how the women and girls they serve become stronger, confident, more hopeful and better equipped for success in school and in life.  For more information on Mercy Education Project, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – November 27th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Angela Rogensues, Executive Director at Playworks about  Playworks is a leading nonprofit organization that leverages play as a tool to help promote healthy behaviors, increase social/emotional learning and improve the climate of individual schools.  They talked about how Playworks aim nationally is to reach 3.5 million children in 7,000 schools by December 2020. It is Playworks Michigan aim to serve 60,000 children in 120 schools locally.  For the 2016-2017 school year Playworks Michigan will serve 14,000 children in 28 schools.  Playworks was just awarded a $1.14M Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation grant enabling program expansion throughout Southeast Michigan.  They discussed how Playworks is looking to expand their services across the state of Michigan and the Ralph C. Wilson grant will allow them to grow in the 7 southeastern Michigan counties service to 15 additional schools that would likely not have received their services.  They also discussed research that supports their services and the changes it makes in individual’s lives.  They are actively seeking financial investments to support their goal of reaching 60,000 children and school partners who want to bring safe and healthy play to their schools.  For more information on the organization, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – November 20th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed the City of Westland Mayor, William Wild, about the many things the city will be involved in this upcoming holiday season.  They talked about Small Business Saturday, which is an American shopping holiday that is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year.  First observed on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and CyberMonday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively.  Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.  They also talked about the Shopping Spree Westland is offering to one lucky winner.  The winner is given $1000 to spend in 1000 seconds.  Also discussed was the economy in the State of Michigan and it’s affecting businesses in the area.  Mayor Wild then provided his feeling on the outcome of the Presidential election and what he feels it will mean to the state moving forward.  For more information on the City of Westland and what they have planned for this holiday season, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – November 13th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed  Robb Lippitt, Chairman of The Social U, about helping students clean up at-risk online behavior.  They talked about how The Social U got started, how it works and what students can learn from The Social U.  The Social U was founded by Julie Fisher, a seasoned educator and sought-after keynote speaker who gives more than 100 presentations every year to parents, students, school staff and administrators.  The Social U helps students ensure their social media profiles and related online content are optimized for college and graduate school admissions, as well as internships and employment. The feedback comes in a form students are already familiar with, a Social [Media] GPA.  More than 90% of teens report daily use of social media. However, what may come as a shock is that 50% of college admissions officers admit to looking at prospective students’ social profiles to gain deeper insights into their character.  However, 92% of employers look at social media before making hiring decisions.  They also talked about what kinds of posts can affect a student’s Social GPA score, how they can improve it and what college admissions officers look at in regards to a students’ social media.  For more information on The Social U, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – November 6th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Detroit Police Officer Tanda Rawls-Owens with the Eighth Precinct, Neighborhood Police Officer and Bridging the Gap Coordinator about the Bridging the Gap program.  They talked about Bridging The Gap and how it first started, what types of services the program provide to the public, which includes a Backpack Drive, Diaper Drive and a Coat Drive.  Officer Owens explained why it is important for the communities, in which officers serve, see the type of outreach that a program like Bridging The Gap provides.  Officer Owens has been a police officer for more than 20 years and explained her own story and why she loves being an officer.  Bridging The Gap has an up-coming coat drive, so they discussed how people can donate.  Also discussed, was how many coats they typically collect and also how are they distributed to the public.  Officer Owens also mentioned that she often times donates items to people in an impromptu fashion, and outside of a regular donation setting.  She’s even given someone a ticket and a coat at the same time.  She also highlighted the Detroit Police Department Neighborhood policing program in the interview.  For more information, on the Bridging The Gap program, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – October 30th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed retired Marine Donald Ingram, President and Founder of No Color Lines Global (NCLG), about No Color Lines Global, which is a non-profit in Detroit for at-risk youth.  They talked about why NCLG is so important, what’s it’s going to take for real change and do young people really believe that we really care.  NCLG is a non-profit organization that works with teens and pre-teens to help them establish practical life skills, a sense of self worth, confidence, and a positive outlook on life.   To do that, NCLG meets them where they are, and helps to take them where they want to go in life.  Also discussed was how much sacrificing people are willing to make when the odds seem to be won by crime ridden communities and what are some of ways to restore hope in a child that’s feeling hopeless.  NCLG offers and creates supplemental opportunities  in communities, schools, or churches where programs already exist.  Their philosophy is that the key ingredients of effective programs include fostering emotional skills, identifying,  assessing, and managing feelings, teaching humility, a positive attitude toward life, self awareness,  and accountability of personal decision making.  Finally, they discussed how long it takes, if needs are met, before change can be seen and measured.  For more information, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – October 23rd, 2016

Vanessa interviewed  Dr. Amy McKenzie, Associate Medical Director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, about learning disabilities.  They talked about what a learning disability is and which disorders fall under this category.  Dr. McKenzie also discussed some signs and symptoms to look out for if you suspect your child might be challenged by a learning disability.  Dr. McKenzie is a board-certified family medicine physician with 13 years of private practice experience and developed a special interest in integrative care for children with autism and developmental disorders.  It is recommended that since children spend six to eight hours each day with their teacher, maintaining a strong relationship and open communication with them is essential in supporting a child’s academic success.  Scheduling a meeting with the teacher is important to finding out if they have noticed the same symptoms in a school setting that may have been observed at home.  You can also ask them to complete an assessment and discuss these results with the doctor.  They also discussed who you should talk to if you think your child exhibits symptoms, how both parent and teacher support can assist children with learning disabilities in the classroom and at home.  Finally, they talked about how you can help empower your child if they are diagnosed with a learning disability.  For more information, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – October 16th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed author Roemer McPhee about his new book “Killing the Market: Legendary Investor Robert W. Wilson”.  Roemer talked about his background and if it is true that his father was a personal counsel to President Eisenhower.  He also talked about when he first got interested in finance.  Roemer knew Robert Wilson personally, so he shared the insights and knowledge in the financial market that he learned from knowing him.  They discussed some of the companies that Wilson had his hand in and how much of an influence was he on making or breaking them, how his book on finance is timely with today’s market and what advice he would give to a young investor today, based on he learned from Wilson.  Roemer McPhee was born in Washington D.C. and resided there for several years while his father was special legal counsel to President Eisenhower.  He found a job working as a trader for Morgan Stanley which is where his career in investing began.  He now works as a private investor and is very active in the futures market and cash markets.  McPhee feels that Wilson was the greatest in his field and that he was unique in that he sold short and they he considers him possibly “the greatest philanthropist in the United States.”  McPhee explained which charities he contributed to and why.  Finally, McPhee explained why he decided to write this book.

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – October 9th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Jack Beers, Dynamic Catholic Ministry Team leader, about Matthew Kelly’s new book “Resisting Happiness: An eye-opening look at self-sabotage, resistance, and happiness.”  They talked about what is “Resisting Happiness” and why do we all do it.  Matthew’s book talks about why we resist everything that is good for us and his first example is getting up in the morning and clicking snooze.  They discussed what makes this book different from other Matthew Kelly books and how this is Matthew’s most personal book and one that he shares intimate stories about his spiritual journey and his struggle with resistance.  They also talked about the design of the book and how it is non-threatening with a happy face on cover.  It was written at a very entry level reader for those new to faith.  Jack also explained the Dynamic Catholic’s Book Program which is one of the key ways Dynamic Catholic Evangelizes.  There are some up-coming Programs, which Jack also talked about.  Jack is part of the Ministry team is a convert to the faith.  He works on the ministry team at Matthew Kelly’s non-profit, Dynamic Catholic.  Alongside Matthew Kelly, Jack works on Dynamic Catholic’s “Catholic Moment” programs and is currently working on the First Reconciliation/ First Communion program, called “Blessed.”  For more information on Dynamic Catholic and Matthew Kelly’s new book, log onto

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – October 2nd, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Charles Dardas, President and COO of AlphaUSA and Subsidiaries, about the role he plays in organizing Livonia’s involvement in National Manufacturing Day which is on Friday, October 7th.  National Manufacturing Day is an effort to drive kids to tour modern manufacturing facilities to spark more interest in skilled and technical careers available in this industry.  Charles’s company will be the site for one of the student tours in Livonia, but he also serves on our planning committee that will take some 550 middle school students to 6 manufacturing plants.  It is the second year that Livonia has held a manufacturing day.  They talked about STEM Education, STEAM Education and the difference between them. They also talked about the scholarship program Dardas started at Schoolcraft college.  They also discussed why the community that he works in is so concerned about generating interest in pre-high school students for job opportunities after high school and why not to wait until they get into high school.  Dardas also explained the Young Inventors program, his community sponsors, the most difficult challenges that we face, locally, in the workforce development projects and whether or not all community members join in the efforts to develop our future workforce.  For more information on AlphaUSA, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – September 25th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Matt Gillard, President and CEO of Michigan’s Children, about the work they do at Michigan’s Children.  They talked about the work the group does in Lansing and the program they have called The Sandbox Party.  This program has been described as the organization’s election advocacy arm, so Matt discusses what it is about.  They also talked about the kinds of issues Michigan’s Children are raising during this election season and their slogan “Raising the issues that matter to Michigan Families”.  Michigan’s Children is closing in on the end of this election cycle, with candidates for the White House and State House talking about a variety of issues.  Matt talked about how important is it for families and people who care about kids to use this election season to get candidates’ attention on issues they care about.  Michigan’s Children is the only statewide independent voice working to ensure that public policies are made in the best interest of children from cradle to career.  Their goals are to catalyze support from elected and appointed public officials to prioritize the needs of children, youth and families with the most challenges in their lives to ensure that their decision-making reflects that and to build public will and influence public action.  Finally, they discussed what could be said to those who succeed in November about how they can make the biggest impact on making Michigan a better place to raise a family.  For more information, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – September 18th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Angie Murad, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, about making sure kids are eating healthy when they go back to school.  Setting the tone for a healthy school year, Angie offered a guide to lunches, snacks, and quick fixes, because healthy eating from a young age creates a lifetime of healthy habits.  Healthy lunches can help prevent obesity and chronic diseases and, for college kids, healthy eating plays a crucial role in stress management and the ability to cope with stress.  They talked about suggestions for families with kids of various ages and how to satisfy them all with lunches and snacks and what are some fun ideas for lunches or snacks, since there is a tendency to get in a rut of eating the same things over and over.  They also discussed suggestions for breakfast for kids who aren’t hungry in the morning and good ideas for “foods-on-the-go”.  Angie works with adult guests at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program to develop individualized wellness or weight management goals in Rochester, MN  and obtained a certificate of training in Adult, Child, and Adolescent Weight Management from the Commission on Dietetic Registration.  Angie also touched on the types of vitamins and minerals that children and teens typically don’t get enough of and if it’s okay for a child to be vegetarian.

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – September 11th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Ron Sandison, Author & Autism Advocate about his story and struggles with Autism.  They talked about some of the misconceptions of Autism and how can parents be equipped to confidently raise children with autism.  Ron shares some of his own personal struggles with overcoming autism and his new book A Parent’s Guide to Autism.  Ron has recently been on a book tour, speaking at more than 20 events and talked about going to colleges, churches, autism centers and conferences to educate others on autism.  Ron was recently a keynote speaker at pro-golfer Ernie Els’ Awe in Autism conference in Jupiter, FL which was a great event for Ron in his autism advocacy efforts.  They discussed how Ron founded Spectrum Inclusion, which helps young adults in Michigan learn skills for independence and  employment and why it was created.  They also talked about how Ron’s Mother used his special interest in prairie dogs to help him develop communication and social skills.  He provided advice to young adults with autism, the lessons he learned writing his book and what inspired him to write a book on autism.  Finally, they discussed some of the frustrations that parents can experience because there is such a wide spectrum when a person is diagnosed as having autism.  Ron also shared his parent’s reaction to his advocacy and their reaction to his success.  For more information on Ron and his work with Autism, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – September 4th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Jackie Berg, CEO of Bridges Communications Group, Inc., about urban grocers who carry fresh foods, her publication TheHUB  and her company Bridge Communications Group.  They talked about why her company is looking to further highlight and promote urban grocers who carry fresh foods and how she would characterize fresh food access in Detroit.  They also discussed how Jackie is celebrating her second year of operation and some of the highlights of her business growth to date.  Jackie has a reputation for being a collaborator and a big advocate of multicultural communication.  They talked about why are these things are important to her.  TheHUB has established itself as the “authentic” voice of Detroit, so Jackie explained what sort of things her media company did to earn that moniker.  TheHUB is a positive publication which can make it difficult when trying to maintain its momentum, especially when people want to only focus on the negative.  They touched on how the internet has changed the way people get their news and how niche publications, that are ethnic based, have seemed to survive when other publications have not.  They also discussed her recent “Living In and Loving Detroit” series which garnered stakeholder and community commendation.  They talked about why she embarked upon this campaign and what she hoped it would achieve.  For more information on Jackie’s company, log on to  and to read her publication, visit

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – August 28th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed  Dan West, Livonia Chamber President/CEO about the city and some of the up-coming events.  They discussed the Connecting Cultures to Business Luncheon which will happen on Thursday, September 8th from 11:30a.m to 1:30 p.m.  The event is to help people better understand cultures, communication styles, and aid community and company leaders to develop more inviting resources to better interact with foreign-based companies.  Dan discussed how the Metro Detroit is really a diverse region, with a lot of ethnic groups coming together, and how the luncheon will focus on helping close the gap between groups.  They also talked about the 4th annual Western Wayne Business Leadership Banquet, which will happen on Tuesday, October 4th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m..  This event is a the premier collaboration experience for Western Wayne County’s leaders.  Dan explained the reason behind starting the banquet and why it included the Western Wayne region.  The Livonia Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1950, is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that supports Livonia and its businesses community.  Among its many services, the Chamber provides marketing guidance, referrals, credibility, and advocacy to more than 900 members in and around Livonia. The Livonia Chamber has the largest membership of any single-community chamber in Michigan. For more information about the Livonia Chamber, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – August 21st, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Dr. Kristyn Gregory, Medical Director and Child Psychiatrist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, about getting kids back on a school schedule  and also how parents can tell if their child is really sick or just faking it.  They talked about how with the summer coming to an end, the transition kids go through can be challenging and why is it important that children get an adequate amount of sleep as they get ready for the school year.  Dr. Gregory explained what the adequate amount of sleep is for a child and how it varies by age.  They also discussed getting kids to bed early and getting them up early to help with the transition and what else parents can do to help get kids back on a school schedule.  The topic then shifted to bullying and ways parents to help their child work through a situation where they face a bully at school.  Finally, they talked about how parents can tell if their child is really sick.  Parents have a natural reaction to worry when their child says they are not feeling well, but sometimes that reaction can be a false alarm.  Dr. Gregory explained some of the ways that a parent can determine if their child is “faking it” and a few of the red flags that parents should be on the look-out for.  For more information about this and other information that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan offers, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – August 14th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Dr. Scott Hahn about his new book, work in the community and the ECRC event where he will be a speaker.  They talked about Dr. Hahn’s new book The Creed: Professing the Faith Through the Ages and how he responds to someone who says we recite the Creed too much from rote memory.  Dr. Hahn about talked about why the Church put the Creed in the middle of Mass after the homily on Sundays and what the significance of this decision.  Dr. Hahn is a speaker and teacher who has delivered talks both nationally and internationally on various topics that relate to both Scripture and the Catholic Faith.  He had ten years of youth and pastoral experience throughout the country, in the Protestant faith, before entering the Catholic Church in 1986.  They discussed  the topics and focus of the events that Dr. Hahn speak at and what he enjoys most about speaking at events.  Specifically, they discussed his talk at ECRC’s Awake My Soul, a Spiritual Conference, which will held on Saturday, August 20th at St. Thomas Chaldean Church.  His talk will be on “Evangelizing Catholics: Ongoing Conversion,” and why conversion is so important for the new evangelization.  Dr. Hahn’s website provides a wide variety of audio and video resources, so he was asked the idea behind providing those types of resources.  For more information on Dr. Scott Hahn, log on to 

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – August 7th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Scott Lorenz, President of Westwind Communications  and a veteran hot air balloon Pilot since 1982, about hot air balloon season.  They talked about what make balloon rides so special and unique, how Michigan is a perfect location for hot air balloon rides with its diverse landscape, and what are some of his favorite things that he likes to showcase in the rides.  Westwind Balloon Company is based in Plymouth, MI and flies over various locations throughout the area including Kensington Park, Island Lake State Park, Brighton, South Lyon and Milford.  Scott has logged more than 1,650 hours piloting hot air balloons and has flown over exotic areas such as Niagara Falls, The Great Wall of China, Disney World, the Olympics, Austria, Japan, Spain,  and Red Rock Canyon in New Mexico.  He has even piloted a trip from Michigan to Kentucky.  For those you haven’t been on a ride before, they discussed the experience, including how long they last.  Balloon flights are great gifts because of the memories they create that last a lifetime.  They are very popular with weddings and other special occasions.  Hot air balloon rides in Michigan are available from May thru October.  For more information, on Westwind Communications and hot air ballon rides, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – July 31, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Karel Bush Executive Director, Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council, about winemaking in Michigan, the 2016 Michigan Wine Competition and the public reception that will follow the competition. They talked about the history of wine making in the State of Michigan and how it has grown over the years, who are some “founding fathers” of wine making in the state and how important those wineries are to the state’s winemaking industry. Karen also talked about how important wineries are to Michigan and impact they have on the economy and some of the challenges and opportunities of making wine in a four-season state, like Michigan. They discussed how Michigan wines rank in terms of quality on both a national and international level and with the recent general push towards locally grown items, how Michigan wine fits into the big picture in terms of retailers and restaurants. Finally, they talked about the 2016 Michigan Wine Competition, its history, the requirements to compete in the event and some of the wineries in competition. Karen also explained the Gold Medal reception that will happen after the event, on August 4th. The event, open to the public, will feature wines from this year’s competition. For more information on Michigan wines, the competition and public reception, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – July 24th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Executive Director, Karen Delhey, about this year’s Ann Arbor Art Fair.  They talked the about how the Art Fair has changed its format this year and moved from a Wednesday through Saturday format to Thursday through Sunday and why the change was made.  The Ann Arbor Art Fair is comprised of four individual fairs that, collectively, comprise one larger fair.  It is one of the largest art fairs in the country and this year will celebrate its 57th anniversary.  They also discussed the three stages this year, the Main Stage on Church Street, The Summer Art Fair Stage on Main Street and the Fountain Stage on Ingalls Mall.  Karen explained  the history of the event, what people can expect to see at the Ann Arbor Art Fair and some of her favorite parts of the event.  Also new to this year’s fair was the State Street Art Fair People’s Choice Awards.  The Ann Arbor Art Fair brings in new artists every year, while also welcoming back favorites from years past to showcase new work.  They talked about the Art Activity Zones, Artist Demonstrations and some of the emerging artists.  For more information on the event, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – July 17th, 2016

Vaness interviewed guest Micki Mcfarlane, the Co-chair of the Highland Games. The two spoke about the Highland Games and how much the games has grown and changed within its 167 years it has been held.  McFarlane spoke about how the public could obtain the tickets to the Highland Games and where the games would be held this year. Vanessa and McFarlane also discussed some of the newer activities and events that will be featured this year at the games.  The 167th Annual Highland Games celebrates Scottish culture and spirit in various ways.  From heavy athletic competition, to the genealogy and clan tents, and from the various vendors to the entertainment tent, the St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit promises that if you give them a day, they will give you Scotland.  Finally, they talked about the popular tug-of-war competition and the Friday night Ceilidh celebration which kicks off the Games.  For more information or for tickets, log onto

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – July 10th, 2016

Vanessa spoke with Grace Derocha, Registered dietician, certified diabetes educator and certified health coach at BCBS of Michigan.  Vanessa and Derocha discussed how mothers could implement their child into their workout routines and how they could make exercise fun for the kids as well. Derocha explained that simple task such as making a healthy meal or snack with your child goes a long way to creating healthier eating habits. Vanessa also spoke with Derocha about the rise of type 2 diabetes in children and how parents could spot the signs of early onset diabetes.  Grace Derocha loves helping others learn how to live a healthier and happier lifestyle. Grace was born and raised in Michigan and is a wife, mother, Sparta and avid Detroit sports fan.  They also talked about how you can include in your workout plans various activities such a playing at the park, planting a garden, hitting the pool and dancing.  The possibilites are all around you.  For more information on living a healthier lifestyle, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – July 3rd, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Dr. Reid Wilson, author of Stopping the Noise in Your Head: The New Way to Overcome Anxiety and Worry.  Reid Wilson informed Vanessa on the various forms of how people can worry and how we have an innate sense to worry about little things until they become big worries. Vanessa and Dr. Wilson discussed the natural habit to incessantly worry. They also discussed the “panicky feeling” we often experience that is nothing other than our brains processing a task as being too big for our skillset that seems too small.  The two talked about the reasons of why we worry and how can we silence or tame those feelings of anxiety.  Dr. Wilson is an international expert in the treatment of anxiety and disorders as well as the Director of the Anxiety Disorders Treatment Center. Dr. Wilson also designed American Airlines first national program for fearful fliers and is currently serving as the expert for WebMD’s Panic and Anxiety Community.  For more information about Dr. Reid Wilson and his techniques to override anxiety, go to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – June 26th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Kevin Fite, coach and founder of Detroit City Chess Club and Kameron Wilson a player on the team.  Vanessa asked Coach Fite about his motivation behind creating the Detroit City Chess Club and how he led his team to be the number one chess team at nationals. They also discussed other achievements and success the club has had since Coach Fite founded the club 13 years ago. Vanessa also asked Coach Fite what age and other requirements those who are seeking to become a member of the chess club must meet in order to be a part of the team.  Vanessa discussed with Kameron how he came to be a team player at the chess club and how has chess improved his life. They also discussed what it has been like for Kameron, to be coached by Fite.  Finally, they spoke about how Kameron first learned about the game of chess and his role on his 5th-grade chess team winning the 2014 K-5 Under 900 Elementary National Championship.  For more information on the Detroit City Chess Club and how you can register, log onto

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – June 19th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Adel DiOrio, chair of Education and Advocacy for the Spina Bifida Association of Michigan, about Spina Bifida and recent legislation (HB 5098).  They talked about what is HB 5098, what it does and why the Spina Bifida Association is applauding its sponsorship.  Also discussed was how the bill first started and how it’s pro-information in focus, arming families and their care teams with readily accessible information during a critical decision-making period.  Adel explained the type of information healthcare providers would and wouldn’t provide in the past and the options or sources of information families would have to turn to in its absence.  They also talked about the Michigan Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida, which is held at Waterford Oaks County Park in Waterford on September 24th.  The Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida is a non-competitive walk that raises awareness about Spina Bifida and whose proceeds are used to support local community programs and services for all affected by Spina Bifida.  For more information about Spina Bifida, the recent legislation and statistics, log on to:

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – June 12th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Andy Tata, director of support services for the Boy Scouts of America, about their STEM program and their up-coming Summer programs.  They talked about how over the last few years, the Boy Scouts of America have added new STEM elements to their program such as robotics.  Discussed was how the STEM program came to be, what it entails and the recently launched STEM awards for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers.  Also discussed was some of the upcoming summer events which include the Cub Scout Mobile happening on June 11th and the Archery Adventure event on June 12th.  Andy was also asked about how the scouting merit badges have evolved the years.  Andy initially joined the Michigan Crossroads Council as Program Director coming from the Black Swamp Area Council in Ohio.  Andy also explained the details about the Boy Scout’s popcorn drive and other summer programs, including the Parents and Pals 24-hour camping trip which will take place on June 25th and the Cub Scout Day Camp that will begin in June.  For more information on the Boy Scouts of America and summer events, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – June 5th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed various guests from the Detroit Skating Club about the 17th Annual Detroit Skating Club Ice Show: Skating Across America.  The event is June 9th through June 12th at the Detroit Skating Club (DSC) located in Bloomfield Hills.  The first guest interviewed was Jerod Swallow, managing director of the DSC about the possibility of the Detroit getting the 2018 National Championships.  If they do, some of the competitions will be at DSC.  Jerod is a five-time U.S. national champion, two-time Skate America champion, and competed twice in the Winter Olympics.  The next guest interviewed was Rachel Lee who is the Learn to Skate Director, Ice Show Director and National Coach for Detroit Skating Club.  Rachel talked about the 2016 Ice Show called Skating Across America and the Learn to Skate Program.  The show features Olympic Skaters including Patrick Chan and Jeremy Abott.  The last guest interviewed was Terry Watson, owner of the Ice Sports Cafe at the Detroit Skating Club, who talked about eating habits of athletic skaters and how they derive gourmet and healthy food options at the cafe.  For more information about the Detroit Skating Club and the Skating Across America show, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – May 29th

Vanessa interviewed Dr. Charles Main about the 2016 Stars Guitars event happening on Saturday, June 4th at the Dearborn’s Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.  This year’s event will feature Creedence Clearwater Revisited.  They talked about how this event benefits The Charles A. Main M.D. Pediatric Cancer Survivor Scholarship Fund of Beaumont Children’s Hospital.  The scholarship program was created to assist young cancer survivors in meeting the expenses of an advanced education.  The program also honors outstanding achievements made by current and former patients of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Department at Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak.  Dr. Main explained the history of Stars Guitars and the reasons behind it coming together, why guitars were chosen as the silent auction items and who was the first person Dr. Main reached out to for a guitar.  Also discussed was how the event has grown over the years and the reaction from the artists who have contributed guitars and their time to the event.  For more information on Stars Guitars, log on to

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – May 22, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Greg Pitoniak, CEO of SEMCA, about Michigan Works and its efforts to help the state’s LTU (long-term unemployed).  According to a study released in 2015, by the State of Michigan, one in three job seekers today are LTU, which translates into nearly 100,000 individuals, and that three in four have been looking for work more than a year.  In comparison, the LTU stats were one in twenty during the Great Recession.  They talked about how there is a disconnect between a job shortage and employee talent pool.  This disconnection is often seen when those who are unemployed lack the necessary skills to fill the shortages that employer face.  They also discussed how Michigan Works helps people find jobs in the region and which skill sets are needed more in metro Detroit.  With Michigan’s unemployment rate falling to its current level of 4.8 percent, there is a population that no longer appears in these statistics, which is the LTU that have been looking for work for 27 weeks or more.  Finally, they discussed the challenges they face in getting people to take advantage of Michigan Works.  For more information on SEMCA, log on to:

It’s Your Community: Show Air Date – May 15th, 2016

Vanessa interviewed Kathy Dix Director of Ogichi Daa Kwe about how to rebuild teen’s self-esteem and a summer camp that focuses on helping teen girls build confidence.  With May being National Teen Self-Esteem Month, Kathy talked about why it’s important for your teen to create a daily reflection time.  Whether it’s journaling, doing yoga, sitting quietly in their room to disconnected from technology, taking 30 minutes each day to reflect can help them when coping with conflicts.  They also discussed learning a new skill and creating opportunities for your teen to accomplish a task that seems challenging and unknown at first.  Camp Ogichi Daa Kwe, located in International Falls, MN, is an all-girls wilderness camp that inspires self growth and teaches lifelong skills.  Kathy has served as camp director since the fall of 2004.  The Camping and Education Foundation’s mission is to develop body and spirit through wilderness experiences that celebrate a love of the outdoors.  Finally, they touched on how to conquer a disconnection challenge and how you can support your teen by creating a family disconnection through turning off technology and doing an activity as a family.  For more information on camp Ogichi Daa Kwe, log on to